Tuesday, July 7, 2009

To discuss a Musical Play by Play

This, I promise, will be the last Sound of Music-related entry. I figure since I took a month off for it, I might as well squeeze what I can out of the experience.
I also figured you might find it interesting to see A) What it's like backstage during a live production B) What goes through my head when I'm doing a show and C) Why T-Pain is considered a singer when he has to use Auto-tune.
I can only help with A and B, but it's a start. Please feel free to address C on your blog or comments.

Here's a run-down of our Sunday matinee, the final show:

12:40 Arrive an hour and 20 minutes before a show. That's to get the mic checked and attend the pre-show meeting. Except, in this show, I don't first appear on stage until Act 1 scene 9... or about 45 minutes in... or about 2 and half hours after I arrive. This means I watch a lot of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" on my iPod.

12:55 Warming up. You can practice a song every day, for weeks on end, and still not perfect it, or, in my case, still suck at it. Note to self: Duck tomatoes tonight. They hurt and stain.

andy sound of music elsa max1:10 Putting on makeup. In the years since I started doing musicals, I've learned how to properly put on blush (sweep brush back, make a smile), use mascara and a host of other makeup techniques. On the downside, this will only come in handy in my next show, or if my son decides to do drag. Bonding!

1:11 The reason I'm doing my own makeup today is because Capricorn had to work. She's done my makeup for several of the shows, which led her to comment, "I think we're entering a new stage of our relationship." And here I though my mom meeting her parents for the first time (it went well) at yesterday's show was a new stage. Nope. It's blush and mascara.

1:31 Why don't we dress in real life like we're all in a stage production? Then we could get away with wearing whatever we want... Want to wear a three-piece business suit to class? You're starring in "How to Be Successful in Business Without Really Trying." Want to wear a leather jacket and a white shirt? You're in the cast of "Grease." Want to wear a negligee to work? You're in "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." Also, you might be a whore.

1:55 Cast meeting. Contrary to a football team getting pumped up for the game, we don't slap each other on the butts as we exit our pre-show meeting, but I think it should be a new tradition. Except, I can't slap the von Trapp children on the butts. That's 5-10 years for each one. Speaking of which, it is nearly impossible not to walk by actors changing in and out of costumes off stage (no time for modesty). Usually, no big deal, except now, it's a bunch of little kids. We're practically needing a Megan's Law sign on the stage.

2:00 Show has begun. I can hear nuns singing through the stage back door. This is where I start to get a little anxious to get on stage. It's also when I realize I forgot to pee and won't be able to until the show's over, as there isn't a bathroom nearby. Not sure if Depends will fit under my costume.

2:40 Getting close to my entrance, and can hear the audience laughing and applauding loudly-- should be a good night. While I'm waiting, I signed the cast poster that stays at the theater. At some point, they should cash in on my autograph on eBay. I'm sure it's worth something. Oh, I should mention I forged it as "Megan Fox: Call me for a good time 555-4290"

2:45 Hear "Do Re Mi" one time, feel happy. Hear "Do Re Mi" 353 times, feel like strangling an orphan with piano wire.

2:59 About to go on. I do the same pre-going on stage routine every show, every time. Actors are very superstitious. I'd tell you what it is, but I'm sure there's bad luck involved. Part of it involves a Mighty Ducks chant. That's all I'll say.

3:00 Heard my cue-- the line right before my entrance-- and can feel the adrenaline rushing through meohgodisthatpee?

3:20 Scene went well. There's nothing like the first entrance in a show, even the fourth show in, as you never know how the audience will react to your lines or what will happen. Some nights, the audience laughs at a line, and the next night it's crickets. I'd like to recommend getting one of those "Applause/Laughter" signs they use on TV sitcoms. Actually, I could use that on the blog, too.... *Holds Laughter Sign... Waits for Response*

3:45 End of first act. The first act in Sound of Music lasts, oh, 15 hours. The goal is to make it seem like it's no time at all, like watching "Lord of the Rings" or "Harry Potter," and not like "The English Patient."

3:50 The inside joke with the actors this show is that Max, my character, will end up having an affair with Elsa, who is Captain von Trapp's fiance (he leaves her for Maria). I smell a sequel: "Sound of Music II: Max Climbs Elsa's Mountain." *Holds Laughter Sign... Shakes Laughter Sign And Waits for Response... Breaks Laughter Sign in Two and Curses*

3:51 Intermission. Intermissions seem interminable when you're in a show. All you want to do is start the show again. And all the audience wants to do is pee. Perhaps we can install toilets in the auditorium. I see a plausible solution. Isn't that what happens in "Urinetown"?

4:07 I start Act Two with a song ("Lonely Goatherd" reprise) with the von Trapp kids. I'm blindfolded during the song, and the kids are running around so I can't catch them. Every night, I pray they don't get the idea to push me into the orchestra.

4:35 Just finished my last song. A little bittersweet, as I know how many weeks it took to get my music ready-- hours of singing along with the CD, going to rehearsal, memorizing lyrics, forgetting lyrics, re-memorizing lyrics.
andy sound of music cast curtain call
4:36 Just so you know, actors sweat on stage like crazy. It's a sweatshop. We look like we're training for the Tour de France.

5:25 Show's over. We get a nice standing ovation-- that makes four for four-- and it really makes you smile and appreciate theater. Plus, I got a lot of kind words from the crowd afterward. One girl wondered if I was 40 years old ("No, that's just the mustache tricking you," I said). Several wondered if I've ever been told I look like Ben Affleck (Yep. A lot).

5:30 Packing up my things. Another show in the books, and who knows when my next one will be or what show I'll do. I hear they are looking for whores in "Best Little Whorehouse," but I'm tired of being typecasted.


Amy xxoo said...

I would want to wear hot pants and thigh high boots and be Mimi in " Rent". A stripper is not quite a whore you know....

Also, brava! on the show and the post Andy.

cavy said...

sounds like you had an awesome experience - sound of music is one of my all time FAVES!

and for the record, i'd totally be in chicago. fishets and bustiers, baby.

Anonymous said...

I was never brave enough to do musicals, just regular plays so thanks for the play by play on the play!

Srg said...

If we would have lived closer to you we would have gone. I just love musical theater!

Heather said...

Sounds like fun! Except the sweating and not peeing thing..

Sam_I_am said...

I think you should do a production of "Cats" next. It would make for great blogging.

Children of the 90s said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. Except for maybe the whole accidental pedophilia backstage part. That sounds a little creepy.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

My daughter is a musical theatre thespian and loves every darn minute of it...

Congrats to you on a successful run.

kisatrtle said...

I'm sorry that I missed this. I so wanted to go, but alas I was on Suckation!

JenBun said...

Now I miss the theatah... ;)

You're awesome!

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